Belgium, (Brussels Morning Newspaper) Russian President Vladimir Putin announced plans to turn to Asia and Africa as gas markets in light of EU’s plan to reduce its reliance on Russian gas.
Speaking at a press conference in Moscow on Thursday, he pointed out that European countries will not be able to switch to different suppliers immediately, according to Reuters reporting.
Russian imports cover roughly 40% of EU’s natural gas needs and the bloc has been debating plans to replace Russia with different suppliers since the start of the war in Ukraine.
As EU member states seek alternative sources, Moscow has been strengthening ties with Asian countries, most notably China, the largest energy consumer in the world.
“The so-called partners from unfriendly countries concede themselves that they won’t be able to make do without Russian energy resources, including without natural gas, for example,” Putin noted and added “there is no rational replacement [for Russian gas] in Europe now.”
Putin critical of EU’s plan
He warned that the EU’s plan to impose an embargo on Russian energy was destabilising the market and driving up prices, reminding that Russia accounts for roughly 10% of global oil production and about 20% of natural gas production.
Putin observed that Russia needs to build infrastructure to increase export to Asia and called on the government to draw up plans to expand transport infrastructure by the start of June.
He added that the Power of Siberia and the Sakhalin–Khabarovsk–Vladivostok pipelines could be connected with the unified gas infrastructure system, connecting the EU and China via Russia.
Putin concluded that the most acute problems of the energy sector are due to disruptions of supply logistics.
Russia started exporting natural gas to China via pipelines in 2019 and struck a 30-year supply deal in February, with the gas to be delivered via a planned pipeline.
Russia’s oil production, its main source of revenue, dropped steeply due to issues with vessels and payments.Large trading houses are planning to reduce purchases of crude oil and fuels from Russian state-controlled companies in the coming months, according to sources, to stay in compliance with EU sanctions against Russia.